Recycle, recycle, recycle
This is usually Step 1 for most families, and there’s no doubt that the earlier you start, the more ingrained recycling will become in their lives. Invest in individual bins for paper and cardboard, glass, cans and plastic, and keep them in an easily accessible spot.
Explain & educate
Join the dots for them when it comes to teaching how we are connected to the environment, so that they understand why they must do their bit.
Get them outside
Whether it’s a weekly hang-out at the local park, a hike, camping, bodyboarding in the ocean, or just lying back and watching the clouds or stars, kids are more inclined to feel connected to the earth if they experience it.
Bring nature to your home
You may have a huge backyard, a small balcony, or just a window looking onto a cityscape. Either way, make an effort to bring nature up close and personal. Set up a garden bird feeder, or try your hand at making one that will adhere to the outside of a window (try it out as a craft activity with the kids, there are some great ideas here).
Show your kids the amount of recyclables and trash that accumulates in your home in a week, to make them aware of the need to reduce waste. Then start brainstorming ways in which your whole family can at least halve what you’re throwing out.
Start a home veggie or herb garden
Even if you only have space for the smallest of flowerpots on a windowsill, a child will be in awe of nature when they grow their own herbs, plant or veggies, watching them develop from seed to plant, to possibly even food they might eat themselves. They’ll also learn the importance of the delicate natural balance needed to foster and preserve life, leading to a bigger lesson on how we can minimize our impact on fragile ecosystems.
Reduce the plastic in your home
Plastic has a way of creeping into our everyday lives. But did you know that every piece of plastic ever made still exists on the planet today (it takes up to 1000 years to degrade in a landfill)? And that it is the largest source of ocean litter? It’s definitely time to figure out how to reduce our plastic footprint. From refusing single-use plastic (drinking straws, takeaway plastic utensils), to choosing a wood toy over a plastic one, there are plenty of small choices you and the kids can make to say no to a plastic planet.
Take them to the grocery store…
The weekly grocery shop is a great place to educate kids about making planet-friendly food choices. Even better, try to regularly visit a local farmer’s market with the kids, and stock up on the freshest natural foods, all in season, preferably organic, and all in minimal packaging… all for the good of the earth and your family.
… And to the library!
One of our favorite ways to while away a few hours with the kids. Why purchase every book your child reads when you can borrow it? The appeal of libraries never gets old!
Use less energy
Start making changes around the house to reduce your electricity and water bills, and educate the kids about how they can help.
Even small adjustments can make a big difference – switch from incandescent lightbulbs to more energy-friendly options; use rechargeable batteries; take showers instead of baths; don’t leave the faucet to run while you brush your teeth; don’t leave the refrigerator door open when you’re making a quick snack; turn a light off when it’s no longer needed; and cut down on screen time – all minor changes that could have a happy effect on your checkbook and the environment!